Tuesday, 17 August 2021
Bethulie: Three murder and robbery accused, Thamsanqa Mokoena (17); Akhona Mthathi (19) and Lerato Yokwana (19), were sentenced by the Bloemfontein High Court sitting at Bethulie, to a lengthy sentence in jail for a crime they committed in September 2020.
The trio murdered and robbed a Bangladeshi shopkeeper (41) by hacking him with an axe and he succumbed to his injuries at the scene. They fled the scene with money, groceries, cigarettes and left him to die alone inside the shop.
A neighbour heard the screams and she immediately alerted the Police. Information was followed that led to the arrest of suspects and the recovery of some of the stolen items and cash. The suspects were denied bail throughout their trial.
The accused realised that the State had a water-tight case against them and pleaded guilty as charged and they were handed a reduced sentence.
They were sentenced as follows:
- Accused 1: Thamsanqa Mokoena sentenced to 15 years for murder and 15 years for robbery;
- Accused 2: Lerato Yokwana sentenced to 20 years for murder and 15 years for robbery; and
- Accused 3: Akhona Mthathi sentenced to 20 years for murder and 15 years for robbery.
The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane commended the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer TN Ziswana for a sterling job in ensuring that criminals faced the full might of the law, thereby providing the family of deceased with closure.